“It was such a tough decision to leave him out”
Mystery also surrounded his decision to start Wilfried Zaha, despite the Eagles winger being pictured in tears before kick-off after receiving an emotional text message.
Zaha had a stinker, suggesting he wasn’t mentally ready for the game, and leading to speculation this had somehow contributed to Puncheon’s anger.
Puncheon, who is under contract until 2019, had to be restrained by team-mates when he scored, with Damien Delaney glancing to the bench before being seen telling him to settle down.
Defender Delaney said: “Punch is an emotional guy. We conceded about two minutes later. I just didn’t want people getting too excited and ahead of themselves.”